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  • Writer's pictureLeon Grice

Late summer upsurge on two continents

We report that European Union nations and many US states are facing upsurges in COVID-19 which is a continuation of the trends our unique Reff method identified and has been tracking for more than two weeks. At the end of the blog, we briefly touch on the data we get from our two major sources.

Twenty two US states are above the redline

In highest to lowest Reff (but all States above 1.0, the "redline") the 22 US States are: Nebraska (Reff=2.1 and 293 cases), North Dakota (2.0, 218), South Dakota (1.8, 380), Iowa (1.8, 987), Arkansas (1.7, 478), Ohio (1.7, 940), Oklahoma (1.5, 766), Maine (1.45, 22), New Jersey (1.36, 291), Massachusetts (1.3, 199), Indiana (1.3, 879), Kentucky (1.3, 454), Vermont (1.29, 11), North Carolina (1.2, 1,051), Missouri (1.2, 1,306), Wyoming (1.2, 34), Kansas (1.1, 166), Utah (1.1, 448), Washington (1.1, 441), New York (1.1, 698), Alabama (1.06, 1,346) and Minnesota (1.02, 932).

Many of these States have recently indicated a resurgence but some like the Dakotas, North Carolina and Massachusetts have had Reff>1.0 for some weeks. It's currently a Midwest and North-eastern resurgence and California, Arizona, Texas and Florida are now all Reff<1.0. Together these 22 States have led to the US going above Reff=1.0 in the last few days. It is relatively early days in the overall US resurgence.

Europe continues its resurgence

In comparison to the US, European States have had a resurgence underway for over two weeks. Back then, we were predicting the increase in daily case loads that we are seeing today. The worry is that Reff rates for many European States are still high and their daily case loads range from moderate to alarming levels.

The two European States with the greatest current public health problem are Spain and France which have new case loads of around 10,000 per day. On 23 August Spain had Reff=1.6 and on 1 September it is 1.4. France had Reff=1.9 and on 1 September it is 1.85.

On 23 August the UK was Reff=1.5 and on 1 September it is 1.43 and new cases per day have grown from 1,041 to 1,715. Italy's Reff has increased from 1.7 to 1.9 and that is reflected in increased new daily cases. Germany's Reff has come down a fraction from 1.6 to 1.5 but its new daily case load has more than tripled to more than 1,500 in late August.

US versus European data

The US has some of the best new daily case reporting as it is broken down by State and by County which allows our COVID-19 modeller to provide much greater insights. It may not be the fault of European nations, but rather how their data is aggregated by the European Centre for Disease Control or Johns Hopkins but it is a shame we can't separate out Marseille from Paris, Berlin from Hamburg, or London from Birmingham.

The US data allows us to understand where the problems are going to be and where COVID-19 is receding. For example in previous blog posts we have been able to report that, having previously being hit hard, Southern California was doing better than Northern California. Thankfully, Reff rates have now significantly reduced in Northern Californian counties, particularly Alameda which had been a persistent hotspot.

Take today's analysis of North Carolina and you can clearly see the counties with the highest Reff. It allows the people making public health and resourcing decisions to focus their resources for the next two or three weeks because Reff predicts where the daily case loads are going to increase. It also allows to conject that maybe there is a correlation between students returning or starting college at the beginning of the academic year in August and the increase in Reff in those college-town counties.

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